Date of Award


Document Type


Primary Advisor

Steven Moore

Secondary Advisor

Shelly Sanders

Committee Reader

Micah Heatwole


This thesis explores the theme of identity in rap music produced by Black women in the past five years (2017-2023). Hip hop feminism's theoretical underpinnings and viability are first established, then the impact that Black women rappers have on their listeners is encapsulated in a statement of significance. After establishing those ideas as a framework, ten songs by three main performers are analyzed for their use of disrespectability politics in developing or protecting the identity of the author. Each of these songs adds the author's voice to the conversation. Disrespectability politics owes much to Onika Maraj, who laid the groundwork over her extensive career, Amala Dlamini, who embodied the ideology in that place, and Megan Pete, who took it a step further to reclamation of language and body. Each of these women's identities are revealed in fragments throughout her poetry, and Maraj, Dlamini, and Pete create three pillars of support for other Black women who are struggling to regain and preserve their unique identities. These women embrace their raw selves with pride and joy as they disembark from respectability politics.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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